Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Saturday 20 February 2016

Is it just me?

My previous post has caused a bit of a "hike" in my blogger stats - it would, therefore, appear a subject worthy of further exploration. Steve Gale has already warned me that he has intent to utilise my material for his own ends. We'll meet in court, or the pub outside, should the brigand continue with his outrageous plans?
I suppose it was, in reality, a three pronged thread of thoughts? My post alluded to the collecting of old books, birds and their present status v's that of an age gone by and the unrealistic expectations of some individuals who are perfectly happy to welcome the new, without any acceptance of the factors behind the occurrence? So I suppose it is only right that I start with the books - that motley assemblage which passes as my reference collection. Although I do have a substantial number of angling publications dating back to 1916, it is my bird books which offer the greatest interest and diversity of subject matter and writing styles. My oldest books are a fourteen volume set of Lloyd's Natural History, published in 1896, leather bound, there are four volumes dedicated to British Birds and within these pages are contained some brilliant descriptive writing of a style that has now been long abandoned. Some birds have undergone name changes, others have now been removed from the "British List" - e.g. Eagle Owl. They remain a most treasured possession.

Lloyd's Natural History - 1896
Then there are my books of birding tales, the adventures and discoveries of a generation of pioneers who went off in search of exotic species in the far corners of the globe. The majority of these were published between the two world wars and are testament to the true "eccentric" character of the obsessed. Again, the standard of writing is wonderful; refreshingly honest and open, drawing the reader into a world of wonder and excitement as the stories unfold.

Looking a little worse for wear, these type of books are frequently
discovered in charity shops where they can be purchased for a
few pounds, at most!
Finally there are books which are of no logical use, but I simply can't bear to part with  - those books which, by simply opening a page, are able to transport me back to a time in my life when, as a wide-eyed child, my own journey of discovery was at its' beginning. Derek and Richie both made comment yesterday about these titles - yes, as I mentioned, it must be an age thing?

The memories of childhood are contained within the battered covers of these iconic books.
How could I possibly throw them away?
I don't think that I have much more to say about population dynamics of the UK's bird life. Winners and losers, all due in some way to the actions of mankind. It doesn't matter if it is our farming methods, our industrial processes, the urbanisation of our countryside or the choice of plants we place in our gardens - each and every thing we do, as a population, impacts on the other life forms around us. It is most obviously seen in our birds, because most of us are aware of them, but you can be sure that many other creatures will also be similarly affected by these changes.

So to the "Tree Hugging Bunny Cuddlers!" - Save the Whale, Save the pond, Don't build here, but don't knock down that bridge - you what? Cake and eat it! Climate change is happening, speeded by the global populous and their industrial pollution, but it's not a new concept - we can see the effects of the last "Ice Age" on the landscape of Britain - huge glacier scalloped valleys in the mountain regions of our countryside. I don't suppose there were too many moaning when that finished? Flora and fauna will adapt to whatever conditions provide. Colonisation will be based upon suitability of habitat and climate. If things change then there will be winners and losers, just as we are witnessing at present. Preserving habitat won't ensure continued occupation of the entire ecosystem, because climate might make it unsuited to the requirements of some species. Some will be lost, thus providing a niche for new ones to move in. Hence the joyous proclamation of "Another new species for the UK list" as a moth gets pinned and handed into the National Collection. It is an increasingly regular occurrence, as can be seen in the moth traps across southern England. Species which were regarded as "megas" are now colonists - this happening within a decade, such is the ability of insects to exploit new opportunities. Birds are capable of the same transitions, but over a much longer time scale. I am not condoning the situation, I am just offering my opinions as a realist. Of course we need to attempt to manage our countryside to the benefit of our native wildlife. Leaving it alone is not an answer; the landscape looks like it does because of the actions of man and the only way to preserve it is our continued intervention and management. However, even with all the best will in the world, the creatures benefiting from the endeavours might not be those for which they were intended?

To finish on a brighter note - this is an illustration from Vol 3 of
Lloyd's Natural History British Birds.
GREENLAND FALCON now I wouldn't mind seeing one of them!


  1. Hi Dyl, Believe you me, they are fantastic looking birds.

    1. Rich, I am in no doubt as to the awesome spectacle a Gyr would be. I once thought that I'd found one (or it found me) when a huge falcon skimmed over my head whilst I was out on the Ash Levels - my patch in the period 1993-2000. It proved to be a falconer's hybrid, but what a fantastic feeling - for a short time I felt like I was in the presence of a Greenland Falcon! It was magic; off eel fishing tonight. Keep smiling - Dyl

  2. David Attenborough eat your heart out, we have Dylan! In your usual style a well stated comment on how things are in the countryside and how the biggest threat is from bloody "bunny huggers", who most of the time know fuck all about real countryside matters.
    By the way, many r years ago we had a Gyr Falcon on the Swale NNR and what a magnificent bird it was to watch.

    1. Derek - just back from a session on the marsh where I've had ample opportunity to think about things - anti's in particular. It's easy to gripe, jump on an eco bandwagon and wave the "Save the Whale" flag - politicians do it all the time. The reality is much less so. I can moan about the demise of the tropical rain forest, the persecution of Hen Harriers and umpteen other issues - I do nothing pro-active to change these things then I jump in my car to drive down the shops to purchase goods grown in cleared areas of the very forest I was moaning about! I get on a plane and fly to some distant land to go birding - how big is the carbon footprint that got me there? Anyone enjoying the benefits of living in the UK, in this modern time, is deluded if they think they are able to make a difference - they and their demands for cheap food, fuel and travel, are part of the cause!
      A Gyr! I live in hope - all the best - Dyl

  3. Dyl, I feel guilty that I have such a bird on my meagre British list.
    Yes, bunny huggers and animal rights activists. They didn't think through the implications of their actions when releasing all those Mink did they?

    1. Rich, Animal rights and environmental campaigners/activists? Obviously they are as entitled to their opinions as any other law abiding members of the public.The emotions involved are based upon strongly held beliefs, although some more from the heart than actual facts. We had a spate of protests at Port Ramsgate, when live exports were taking place. Those moved to take part in that action were a very diverse group, certainly not a gathering of "rent a mob". As an individual, I very much have to accept the rights of others to hold differing views to my own - they can't help being wrong!
      As for feeling guilty about seeing (twitching?) a Gyr - they all count. I have a self found Booted Eagle on my list - fuck the BOURC and their pathetic dereliction of duty. My list, I'll include what I want - three bites last night - two pike and one eel - no fish landed! Bloody consistent ain't I? Dyl